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393

face of that'object in her arms. It was the face of Bunk
Trevelyan, the redness of flesh and hair faded to greyness,
but Trevelyan's face, and somehow, he knew that it was alive
and strove to speak. But always, at that moment, May
began to laugh. He could not hear the sound, but her face
was contorted in a paroxysm of laughter that he thought
would never end. Then, not in fury but with a coldness of
calculation, almost with a slyness, he raised his clenched fist,
thinking that he must stop her laughter, that if she con-
tinued to laugh like that all would be lost, everything would
shrivel and be blotted out and devoured, and there would be
nothing but that soundless ferocity of laughter and himself
alone in the midst of it. Then he woke up, that first time
suspended, as it were, in the perfect, swollen, and untremb-
ling medium of grief, which in itself was a kind of fulfil-
ment, for in its absolute was'posited the absolute worth of
all lost happinesses. But now, when he woke up in the dark-
ness of that little lean-to room of the Proudfit house, there
was not even the grief.

Some nights, when he could not sleep, he would retrace
every incident of the morning when Turpin had been shot.
He would say to himself, Now, I left tie hotel at seven-
twenty. The very look of the watch as he had held it in his
hand would come back to him. And he would bring up
before his mind the faces of the persons whom he had met
on the street. He would repeat aloud, lying there in the dark,
the very words they had spoken to him in greeting, and his
own replies. He would try to re-create every familiar detail
of the office, which he had seen when opening the door that
morning: the desk, the bookcases, the chairs heaped with
old books and papers, the courthouse and the leafing trees.
He would grip those items hard in his mind, his very muscles
tensing with the effort sometimes, as though by will he might
force a reason out of the blank and taciturn irrationality.

It was not to his violence that they surrendered their
answer. Rather, the answer he finally had from them came
almost unsought, casually, at the moment of his waking one